Trump appointee says for the ‘past several years’ he has been the victim of ‘multiple cyber attacks’

That’ll explain those ungentlemanly comments about Obama’s mom then.

Trump appointee says for the 'past several years' he has been the victim of 'multiple cyber attacks and internet crimes'

You think you’ve had problems online?

Spare a thought for William C Bradford, an American lawyer who was recently appointed by Donald Trump to run the Energy Department’s Office of Indian Energy.

As The Washington Post discovered, before entering public office, Bradford’s Twitter account was prone to making some eyebrow-raising declarations about the previous US president…

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…and the founder of Facebook.

Tweet zuckerberg

The tweets from @Brute_Bradford have since been deleted, and Bradford emailed an apology to the newspaper:

“As a minority and member of the Jewish faith, I sincerely apologize for my disrespectful and offensive comments. These comments are inexcusable and I do not stand by them. Now, as a public servant, I hold myself to a higher standard, and I will work every day to better the lives of all Americans.”

Okay, so that would be awkward enough. But if you’ve owned up to acting in an inappropriate way, don’t be surprised if other media outlets wonder if they might be able to dig up some other past misdemeanours.

Like, for instance, the account CNN uncovered that Bradford had with the Disqus commenting system.

CNN uncovered plenty of awkward comments left by Bradford’s Disqus account on assorted blogs, but here’s a choice example:

Disqus whore comment

I have to say, I’d be pretty upset if someone had called my mum a “porn actress”, but even more outraged if I was told she was only fourth-rate.

However, we would be wrong to jump to conclusions that these Disqus messages were sent by the same person who admitted sending the tweets.


Because, it turns out that William C Bradford was not the potty-mouthed scamp who left those comments uncovered by CNN, but instead he is actually the victim of a hacker.

And possibly not just one hacker, but a concerted attempt “over the past several years” by hackers to attack him and break into his email, according to a statement the recently appointed DOE office director gave to CNN:

“I cannot comment on an ongoing federal investigation into multiple cyber attacks and Internet crimes committed against me over the past several years, to include email intrusions, hacking, and impostors in social media.”

Obviously no-one deserves to be hacked. And it must be ghastly to have your account hijacked by others who seem dead set on damaging your public reputation year after year.

It’s a ghastly situation, but Bradford has done the right thing calling in the Feds to investigate what’s been going on. I hope they will do a through investigation and determine precisely who was behind this scurrilous attack.

By the way, in 2015, Bradford resigned from the US Military Academy at West Point after urging attacks on Islamic holy sites and claims he exaggerated his military service record and academic career.

Unless, of course, that was the hackers too.

For further discussion on this story, make sure to listen to this episode of the “Smashing Security” podcast:

Smashing Security #040: 'The show that cost Troy Hunt 14 dollars'

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Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

3 comments on “Trump appointee says for the ‘past several years’ he has been the victim of ‘multiple cyber attacks’”

  1. David L

    I'm sure there are plenty of people on the other side of the political spectrum equally dubious. But the problems Graham, is the MSM only seem interested in embarrassing those on the right. Which is why, the majority of Americans have very little respect for the Media in general. They have for years, the MSM have only attacked conservatives, or Republicans, in the most scurrilous ways, but when Democrats are exposed, they ignore, or spin those problems that make them all look bad.

    1. Graham CluleyGraham Cluley · in reply to David L

      Rest assured David, I'm just as happy to criticise left-leaning politicians as the right when it comes to sloppy security or – indeed – the age-old game of blaming some personal goof on external hackers.

      And I think it's inaccurate to claim that Democrats have got away scot free from media attention. Just consider the countless news reports about the John Podesta attack, Hillary Clinton's dubious use of her own email server, the hacking of the DNC…

      Hey, also, a lot of celebrities identify with the liberal left, and there's no shortage of internet security screw-ups there.

  2. Etaoin Shrdlu

    Graham- you have swallowed David's unspoken premise: that you are a member of the mainstream media. As a technical specialist reporting on specific topics you can easily disassociate yourself from the bias displayed by the major organs of news distribution.

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